Sunday, March 20, 2011

Supermoon Sunday: March 20, 2011

Try as I might, I could not get a clear shot of Supermoon! here in GR. We had some high clouds move in right after moonrise - so I went with this blowout shot instead. The guys at the GR Press struggled a bit with it too, so I don't feel so bad.

Some stuff I wanted to note:

  • Protests against Snyder's budget and union-busting proposals continue. Battle Creek held a protest Friday that drew hundreds, and on Saturday the U.P. got in on the action with protests in Marquette and Munising. Traverse City saw hundreds turn out on Saturday as well. My favorite story of the week came from Manistee, where seven people protested in front of that city's library Tuesday. Who needs to go to the big city when you can speak out at home?

  • Nuclear fail. No danger of meltdown here, but the Cook Nuclear Plant's Unit 1 in Bridgman was down for five days to fix a hydrogen leak in the main generator. At first it was thought that a seal was broken, but they finally traced the problem to some bolts on an end plate that needed retorquing. The generator is housed separate from the reactor building.

  • The roller-coaster continues at Uni-Solar. Incentive cuts in France and Italy spell a slowdown in production for the company, but so far it is unknown whether or not they will cut hours or jobs in Greenville. Business is picking up in North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, so that's a positive sign.

  • Speaking of Uni-Solar, it was five years ago this month that Electrolux left town. The Greenville Daily did a very good series recently that takes a look back at the story, and what has happened to the town and workers since then. Follow this link to see the history of Electrolux in the area, and the first day in the series that takes a look at operations amidst the violence in Juarez, Mexico. It's an eye-opener. From there you can see the rest of the week's articles.

  • Detroit 1-8-7 will run its season - and perhaps series - finale tonight at 10PM. ABC will not decide until May on whether or not they will pick up the show for next year. If they do continue on, there is a chance they will move filming to a state (or Canada) that has film incentives, which means we may not be seeing the great scenes from Detroit's famous and infamous landmarks anymore. So, tune in tonight, and keep your fingers crossed we can keep it (and the jobs and businesses that serve the show) here.

  • Senator Stabenow draws attention to the rare earth shortages in America this week, asking federal officials to urge the Chinese to loosen export restrictions on the materials. Good to see this getting some notice in Congress.

  • Don't bark at police dogs. They will arrest you if you do.

  • Why is MEDC still picking winners and losers? Perplexing news release of the week was entitled "10 growing businesses choose Michigan over competing states and nations", as we are still doling out the tax credits that Snyder plans to eliminate. If those credits are so gosh darn horrible, why didn't they put a stop to it already? Hey, we will take the jobs and investment, it just seems a little odd...

  • Peter Luke comes up with the best summary paragraph concerning Snyder's budget plan:

    There is little evidence that slashing business tax rates leads to job growth. In the past 10 years, the business tax burden declined as a percentage of personal income even more than the economy as a whole. The economic freefall in Michigan indeed was preceded by more than $1 billion in personal and business tax cuts approved in 1999. Snyder’s plan to finance his tax cut by raising taxes some $1.3 billion on retirees and low-income wage earners punishes individuals with no guarantee there will be significantly more jobs.

    That first sentence can't be repeated enough. All of this is predicated on trickle-down theory - and no one seems to want to challenge it anymore. And when Democrats repeat the theory, it gives me little hope that anyone will challenge it in the future. How far does our quality of life have to fall until we get the message?

    That's it for now...